1. Context

The need for the rapid development of large-scale carbon removal is now mainstream science, as documented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in their Sixth Assessment Report. All reasonable scenarios that limit global warming to 1.5°C — the globally accepted limit beyond which the planet is likely to face dire and unpredictable effects — require large-scale carbon removal to the effect of hundreds to thousands of gigatons by the end of the 21st century, along with the immediate reduction of CO2 emissions across all economic sectors.

The health of the ocean has been in rapid decline due to the warming, acidification, and deoxygenation caused by the absorption of anthropogenic CO₂. This decline threatens coastal communities and food security. It puts the natural processes that regulate our climate systems at extreme risk of collapse. Without positive interventions like ocean-based carbon removal, the capacity of the ocean to sequester and store atmospheric CO₂ will likely continue to diminish, accelerating the increase in atmospheric CO₂ and the resulting acidification of surface seawater.

This “negative baseline” of rapidly declining ocean health provides critical context when considering ocean climate solutions, as there is no solely conservation-focused strategy that provides a realistic pathway towards meaningfully maintaining or improving ocean health at a global scale. While conservation and preservation of at-risk areas is a critical component of preventing further damage and maintaining a healthy, productive, and biodiverse ocean, taking positive action to restore degraded ecosystems, reverse acidification, and remove excess carbon is necessary to counter the irreversible changes faced by marine ecosystems.

Simply put, there is no path to effectively combating the climate crisis that does not include taking positive action in the ocean to address acidification, warming, and biodiversity loss.

As a leading practitioner in the rapidly growing field of carbon removal – and one of the few companies in the space today successfully conducting field trials – Running Tide feels a responsibility to set clear standards for responsible action and ethical decision making among ocean actors and carbon removal practitioners more broadly, and to ensure appropriate consideration of the environmental, ecological, and social implications of our activities - both positive and negative.

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